Should I Think About Hiring a Virtual Assistant?

Cost cutting is still big on everyone’s minds – business need to become leaner and meaner in order to make ends meet. As technology improves, more people are working from home and the traditional office environment is changing substantially. Virtual assistants are becoming more popular.

What is a Virtual Assistant?

A virtual assistant can be assigned a range of tasks from basic office admin right through to being a Personal Assistant. This person works offsite and communicates with you mainly via the internet. Job functions can include answering of emails, customer service queries and basic data capture. Just about all the traditional functions of a Personal assistant can be fulfilled online.

Why go Virtual?

You may be hesitant but there are a good number of reasons to hire a virtual assistant and first amongst these is cost containment. Because your virtual assistant will be working offsite, you do not have to arrange office space, etc. These employees are unlikely to be permanent and so you will not have to worry about benefits. You are also able to hire virtual assistants on a project to project basis. To cap all of this off, a virtual assistant is likely to charge less than a full-time employee would.

How will they do the Job?

You may be concerned about getting the work to your new VA but this is very simple – you can email fax or simply use a web app like Google Apps or Drop box to get the necessary documents to the VA. Drop box is particularly good because documents are updated immediately once saved into it. Communication, even between people in different countries, is easy because of technologies like Skype and Google Talk, etc. There really is no reason for miscommunication – you will be able to spell out the requirements in a video conversation via Skype if you want to. In fact, a lot of businesses are moving away from traditional meetings and using Skype as a viable alternative to travelling away from the office.

Will they do a Good Job?

This is going to be like hiring any other employee – conduct proper interviews and check their references. By hiring them on a project to project basis, you can start them off with small projects to see how those are handled first. There are several online freelancing sites that provide a showcase for contractors and these sites usually allow employers to leave feedback. As a cost effective business strategy, hiring a VA may be the way forward to lighten your load without lightening your pocket too much.

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